10 Tips for Living in Panama
By Betsy Burlingame
Did you know it's hot in Panama City all year round? Did you know that it's hard to get a work visa in Panama? Did you know that Panama has great incentives for foreign retirees?
Living in Panama Guide
Our Guide to Living in Panama is a perfect primer for readers interested in Panama. Covers healthcare, cost of living, best places to live, residency, visas, real estate, moving tips and the pros and cons of living in Panama.
Join our Panama forum to meet other expats and talk about living in Panama.
Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Panama.
Best Places to Live in Panama
Panama is a great place to live or retire with easy residency laws, warm people and lots of expats. Whether you want to live by the beach in Bocas del Toro or need to live in Panama City for work and schools, there are many places to explore.
Healthcare in Panama
Expats have differing opinions about healthcare in Panama. Many advice against public hospitals and healthcare, but some recount good experiences. This article covers public vs private healthcare, cost of healthcare, obtaining prescription medications and much more.
Cost of Living in Panama
Expats in Panama enjoy a relatively low cost of living. However, it's important to do your research to make sure you'll actually enjoy those saving while creating a high quality of life as an expat in Panama.
Moving to Panama Guide
Do you have to buy a round trip ticket when moving to Panama? How difficult is it to bring my dog? Should I buy a home in Panama? Can I find health
Pros & Cons of Living in Panama
Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Panama.
Panama Visa & Residency Guide
This article covers the ins and outs of the most common tourist and residency visas that expats and global nomads obtain when moving to and living in Panama.
10 Tips for Living in Panama
Expats, global nomads and retirees are drawn to Panama's ease of residency, low taxes (Panama does not tax on worldwide income), friendly Panamanians who always put family first, inexpensive healthcare and laid back lifestyle.
I've lived in 2 cities in Panama for a total of 7 months. I've lived in 7 countries and traveled to many more, so I compare. Promoters (realtors, etc.) want you to believe this is paradise. Paradise it is not. But, then again, it may be, if your criteria isn't too high, or if you live in a gated community and drive a car. I ride a bus and see glaring examples of inconsideration when they won't give up their seat for a pregnant woman, a mother carrying a child or an elder who can hardly walk. I see they use their country as a garbage bin - and I've never seen a street cleaner. Customer service is an unknown quantity here. I have one more city to try out. People do seem nicer there. If it's not an improvement, I'm outta here.
We have lived in Panama for going on 4 years and find it great. As some people say Panama is not paradise. Paradise is not a location but what you make of that location. Only you can make it paradise or hell on earth. We have found it very easy living here and have made many good friends both gringoes and Panamenians .We live in the highlands and the weather is great, warm in the daytime and cool at night. If it's your dream to live in a different country, follow your dream or it just becomes a fantasy. Slider, Volcan, Panama.
Regarding your statement about Benefits for Retirement in Panama: 25% off both international and domestic airline tickets,
this CAN'T BE TRUE!
The % just isn't possible. I've travelled on and off for 40 years and ran a travel agency for 6 years. If a 25% discount were possible, there would be hundreds of thousands of foreigners from all over the world registering as retirees in Panama just for that HUGE travel discount.
In reference to the discount on airfares---allegedly 25%---it is true with COPA air and Air Panama, both Panamanian airline company. The discount takes place when the trip originates from Panama and you purchase your airfare in Panama and not via internet or abroad. If your trip originates elsewhere to fly to Panama on an international journey there is not discount.
Be aware of the, "quick fix" solutions, they have the habit of unraveling when you least expect it or when you don't need it.
Also don't try to bribe feamale cops! And don't talk back or try to talk your way out of a ticket, you most likely deserved it if given by a feamale.
number 1 ... don't live in the city
2 ... don't use air conditioning , it takes getting used to but but in the long run is better for you
3... buy your meats , veggies , and fruits at local vendors
4... if you eat out find local restaurants with a noon or dinner buffet , try their specialties
5... if you own a car get your insurance from kevin bradley and get a good local mechanic , do not trust the shops
6... learn basic spanish but make friends with locals that speak some english , you will find a good one lovers to learn more and teach you more
7.... look me up always need new friends " make new friends but keep the old , one is silver the other gold .. "
I have lived for 18 years in Panama and forget exactly what is was like to live in the USA. I have become very fluent in the language thanks to a marriage to someone who couldn't speak English. Five years ago I became a citizen so I don't need a work permit. I could just as easily live in Colombia or the Dominican Republic or Nicaragua. The main thing is to become fluent in the language. Once you do that you can live almost anywhere in Latin America and feel comfortable.